Bookshelf Spotlight: Southeast Asian Feminists, Activism, and Literature

Featured University Of Hawai’i Press Publishing

* Power, Resistance and Women Politicians in Cambodia: Discourses of Emancipation

Power, Resistance and Women Politicians in Cambodia: Discourses of Emancipation


by Mona Lilja
University Of Hawai’i Press, 2008

In a world where there are few women politicians, Cambodia is still noticeable as a country where strong cultural and societal forces act to subjugate women and limit their political opportunities. However, in their everyday life, Cambodian women do try to improve their situation and increase their political power, not least via manifold strategies of resistance. This book focuses on Cambodian female politicians and the strategies they deploy in their attempts to destabilize the cultural boundaries and hierarchies that restrain them. In particular, the book focuses on how women use discourses and identities as means of resistance, a concept only recently of wide interest among scholars studying power. The value of this book is thus twofold: not only does it give a unique insight into the political struggles of Cambodian women but also offers new insights to studies of power.

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Featured Books

* Freedom from Fear and Other Writings
* The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick Maker
* Passional: New Poems and Some Translations
* Refiguring Women, Colonialism, and Modernity in Burma
* Realizing the Dream of R. A. Kartini: Her Sister’s Letters from Colonial Java

Freedom from Fear and Other Writings


by Aung San Suu Kyi
Penguin Books, 1995

Aung San Suu Kyi, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and the leader of Burma’s National League for Democracy, has lived under house arrest since 1989. Nonetheless, despite her incarceration, Burma’s “woman of destiny” has steadfastly refused to renounce her non-violent opposition of the country oppressive military junta. She is one of the world’s greatest living defenders of freedom and democracy, and an inspiration to millions worldwide.

Freedom from Fear brings together the remarkable Buddhist leader’s most powerful speeches, letters, and interviews. She passionately voices sentiments that capture not only her own struggle and that of her fellow citizens, but also the hopes and fears of all people who yearn to be free.

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The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick Maker: A Collection of Short Stories


by Gilda Cordero-Fernando
Benipayo Press, 1962

This is the first collection of short stories by Filipino author Gilda Cordero-Fernando. Dowdy and glamor-starved housewives, the money-mad circle that barely senses the need for social justice, children anxious for love and security–these provide the material for the fable and vision which fiction demands of its makers.

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Passional: New Poems and Some Translations


by Ophelia A. Dimalanta
University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2002

Passional is the title poem of Dr. Dimalanta’s sixth poetry collection. Her juxtaposition of a funeral wake and rather “erotic” description of the energy that “is last to go” is striking. Death throes as passion throes are supreme conceits of life, love, and dying. Part II of the poem is certainly one of the best descriptions of how the final death is truly the death of passion, the rigour mortis of the final separation between body and spirit, the final release of a “final come.” The perfect calm and the supreme emancipation of passional release and death release — the poetic juxtaposition is startling and truly poetic – .

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Refiguring Women, Colonialism, and Modernity in Burma


by Chie Ikeya
University Of Hawai’i Press, 2011

Refiguring Women, Colonialism, and Modernity in Burma presents the first study of one of the most prevalent and critical topics of public discourse in colonial Burma: the woman of the khit kala-“the woman of the times”-who burst onto the covers and pages of novels, newspapers, and advertisements in the 1920s. Educated and politicized, earner and consumer, “Burmese” and “Westernized,” she embodied the possibilities and challenges of the modern era, as well as the hopes and fears it evoked. In Refiguring Women, Chie Ikeya interrogates what these shifting and competing images of the feminine reveal about the experience of modernity in colonial Burma. She marshals a wide range of hitherto unexamined Burmese language sources to analyze both the discursive figurations of the woman of the khit kala and the choices and actions of actual women who-whether pursuing higher education, becoming political, or adopting new clothes and hairstyles-unsettled existing norms and contributed to making the woman of the khit kala the privileged idiom for debating colonialism, modernization, and nationalism.

The first book-length social history of Burma to utilize gender as a category of sustained analysis, Refiguring Women challenges the reigning nationalist and anticolonial historical narratives of a conceptually and institutionally monolithic colonial modernity that made inevitable the rise of ethnonationalism and xenophobia in Burma. The study demonstrates the irreducible heterogeneity of the colonial encounter and draws attention to the conjoined development of cosmopolitanism and nationalism. Ikeya illuminates the important roles that Burmese men and women played as cultural brokers and agents of modernity. She shows how their complex engagements with social reform, feminism, anticolonialism, media, and consumerism rearticulated the boundaries of belonging and foreignness in religious, racial, and ethnic terms.

Refiguring Women adds significantly to examinations of gender and race relations, modernization, and nationalism in colonized regions. It will be of interest to a broad audience-not least those working in the fields of Southeast Asian studies, colonial and postcolonial studies, cultural studies, and women’s and gender studies.

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Realizing the Dream of R. A. Kartini: Her Sister’s Letters from Colonial Java


by Joost J. Coté
Ohio University Press, 2007

Realizing the Dream of R. A. Kartini: Her Sisters’ Letters from Colonial Java presents a unique collection of documents reflecting the lives, attitudes, and politics of four Javanese women in the early twentieth century. Joost J. Coté translates the correspondence between Raden Ajeng Kartini, Indonesia’s first feminist, and her sisters, revealing for the first time her sisters’ contributions in defining and carrying out her ideals. With this collection, Coté aims to situate Kartini’s sisters within the more famous Kartini narrative-and indirectly to situate Kartini herself within a broader narrative.

The letters reveal the emotional lives of these modern women and their concerns for the welfare of their husbands and the success of their children in rapidly changing times. While by no means radical nationalists, and not yet extending their horizons to the possibility of an Indonesian nation, these members of a new middle class nevertheless confidently express their belief in their own national identity.

Realizing the Dream of R. A. Kartini is essential reading for scholars of Indonesian history, providing documentary evidence of the culture of modern, urban Java in the late colonial era and an insight into the ferment of the Indonesian nationalist movement in which these women and their husbands played representative roles.

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